This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Healthcare expenditures in Argentina traditionally account for approximately 9 to 10 percent of GDP, among the highest in the region. The Argentine medical equipment and device market is dominated by imports, which account for around 70-85 percent of the total market. The import market amounted to approximately $555 million in 2021 and is projected to reach about $603 million in 2022.
While imports are expected to continue recovering throughout 2022, they may do so at a slower pace, given macroeconomic concerns such as high inflation affecting purchasing power, foreign exchange controls that limit access to foreign currency for payments, challenges or delays in obtaining import permits, and price distortions due to a devaluated currency.
The United States is traditionally a leading supplier of imported medical products, particularly high-end technology, maintaining a 20 percent import market share (in 2020), second to China, which achieved a 22 percent market share, particularly in consumables.
The sanitary emergency that the Argentine government (GOA) declared in late 2019 to face the COVID-19 pandemic, and reinforced until December 31, 2022, is expected to be extended in 2023. Under this status, the GOA provided exemption of import duties for products related to combatting the pandemic. The GOA also has the authority to make direct purchases of supplies, equipment, devices, pharmaceutical products, other inputs for medical use as well as services.
Imports are gradually re-focusing on non-COVID-related sectors, after a steep drop of 30-60 percent during 2020. Most imports are concentrated in equipment and devices, specialized catheters, cannulas, patient aids, orthopedic implants, and dental products.
Additional opportunities for U.S. exports continue to be e-health technologies and middle to high-end technology products, such as electro-diagnostic equipment and other specialized medical equipment and devices that do not compete with locally manufactured ones. Purchases of large equipment with high prices may often be postponed.
There may also be potential in the market for stents, cardiac valves, pacemakers, and other specialized disposables.
Among these products, the largest exports from the United States in past years were in these HS Codes categories: 9018.90.99.190, 9018.90.99.990, and 9018.39.29.900.
The Argentine government and some international loans from multilateral development banks will continue to provide funding to support government programs particularly concentrated on primary care, maternal care, and healthcare infrastructure under a national universal healthcare coverage plan. This plan emphasizes efficiency, accessibility, and modernization through e-health technologies.
Medical products and technology developed and produced in the United States are highly regarded in Argentina. This is particularly relevant for U.S. exporters that offer high quality products at competitive prices. In this competitive market, much of the demand for mass-market technologies is already being met.
However, budget constraints of both the public and private sectors coupled with the country’s macroeconomic scenario, results in product export potential being determined on a case-by-case basis.
All imports of medical products require prior registration, by an experienced medical equipment importer, with the Argentine food, drug, and medical equipment regulatory agency, ANMAT, the Argentine equivalent of the FDA.
ANMAT (National Administration of Medicine, Food, and Medical Technology) at http://www.anmat.gov.ar/webanmat/institucional/que_es_la_anmat_en.asp
For additional information on this industry, including market analysis, trade events, contacts, and the products and services that the U.S. Commercial Service can provide to help you succeed in the Argentine market, please contact our Healthcare Industry Specialist Liliana Paz.